British photographic history

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Exhibition: Blue Prints: The Pioneering Photographs of Anna Atkins / New York, from 19 October 2018

The New York Public Library which holds a copy at Anna Atkins' British Algae is hold an an exhibition devoted to her from 19 October 2018-17 February 2019.  Anna Atkins (1799–1871) came of age in Victorian England, a fertile environment for learning and discovery. Guided by her father, a prominent scientist, Atkins was inspired to take up photography, and in 1843 began making cyanotypes—a photographic process invented just the year before—in an effort to visualize and distribute information about her collection of seaweeds. With great daring, creativity, and technical skill, she produced Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, the first book to be illustrated with photographs, and the first substantial application of photography to science. Ethereal, deeply hued, and astonishingly detailed, the resulting images led her and her friend Anne Dixon to expand their visual inquiry to flowering plants, feathers, and other subjects. This exhibition draws upon more than a decade of careful research and sets Atkins and her much-admired work in context, shedding new light on her productions and showcasing the distinctive beauty of the cyanotype process, which is still used by artists today.

Details of a symposium devoted to Atkins and her work will be announced shortly.

A companion exhibition looks at how Atkins's legacy lives on through the works of artists today in Anna Atkins Refracted: Contemporary Works, on view September 28, 2018–January 6, 2019

Read more here: 

Image: Anna Atkins, "Halyseris polypodioides" from Part XII of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, ca. 1849, cyanotype.

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